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Published: July 4, 2011

Intermediate units

Educational administrative groups with varying degrees of authority to establish educational services that would otherwise be unavailable to local school districts. Traditionally divided into intermediate administrative units and intermediate education units (IEUs), the former usually serve in highly populated cities and states as liaisons between groups of schools—all the schools in one county, for example—and the state BOARD OF EDUCATION. Designed simply to foster efficient communication and cooperation between local and state education officials, the intermediate administrative unit provides local school districts with consultative, advisory, administrative and statistical services and helps interpret and enforce state regulations at the local level. Depending on the state, it may or may not have taxing authority.
IEUs, on the other hand, are semi-autonomous administrative units established to operate particular educational services, programs or schools outside the traditional school system. Usually operated on a cooperative basis for two or more school districts, the most common intermediate educational units provide either special education or vocational education on a regional basis for several school districts too small to afford to offer such services by themselves. IEUs fall into three categories, depending on whether they are established by the cooperating school districts (cooperative agency), by state and cooperating local authorities (special district) or by the state alone to provide a specific broad-based service (regionalized agency). Different states have a wide variety of names for their IEUs, the most common being Cooperative Educational Service Agency, Intermediate School (or Education) District and BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATION SERVICES (BOCES).